Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Loyalty “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Written by: on October 8, 2015

Loyalty “Should I Stay or  Should I go?”


October 8, 15


I am presently in the crossroads with the title of this blog. While I understood that Albert Hirschman was conveying his thought through the eyes of a company or organization that has consumers and members I looked at it from the eyes of a church organization. I am getting my construction company back going but I am not interested so much in being competitive anymore. I just want to thrive and maintain this company for my grandsons. But I understand the context of a business very well and beating out the competition but I am not going that way with this because Exit, Voice and Loyalty is a book that is speaking to a situation that I find myself in with my denomination.

Should I exist or should I use my voice? I am clear about one thing if things don’t change I am going to use my voice. Hirschman says, “To resort to voice, rather than exist, is for the customer or member to make an attempt at changing the practices, policies, and outputs of the firm from which one buys or of the organization to which one belongs.”[1]I am at this juncture with my denomination, I don’t want to exist at this point but something must be said about how the denominations practices and policy don’t serve the 21st Century like it could. I am doing my problem statement in regards to how our denominations like many denominations are attractional and not missional. I don’t want to park there but there are other issues that need to change. I am not a quitter and I am loyal to the denomination but I am at that point that I cant stomach doing things that are not beneficial for my church and that only benefit the greater church. And the choice at this point is exist or voice your dissatisfaction. It is often between articulation and “desertion”-voice and exist in our neutral terminology.[2] I don’t want to just voice my dissatisfaction I want to study how and what to do to help the organization to be better and to reflect the gospel better in the 21st Century.

Exist is not what I want to do right now because it is so easy to walk away from something and ridicule it and that’s is not my style. I think that is weak. But if it is too daunting of a task I must follow my heart and vision. When I am loyal to something I am loyal. And as Hirschman says, “as a rule, then loyalty holds exist at bay and activates voice.”[3] That’s why I am studying missional leadership and churches to understand how it works so that when I do voice my dissatisfaction I will already have a solution and don’t end up as just a complainer. It is easy to complain but you should have a solution that you are doing and you can measure your success with theirs. And then finally I hope for reform and this hope is one of the reason I don’t exist. It is a great denomination. And loyal people are always hanging in there because they believe it can change. Albert Hirschman puts it like this, “as a result of loyalty, these potentially most influential customers and members will stay on longer than they would ordinarily, in the hope or, rather, reasoned expectation that improvement or reform can be achieved from within.”[4]

[1] Albert O Hirschman, Exist, Voice, and Loyalty: Reponses to Decline in Firms Organizations and States (Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press, 1970), 30.

[2] Ibid., 31.

[3] Ibid., 78.

[4] Ibid., 79.

About the Author

Travis Biglow

Pastor of Victory Empowerment Center. Regional Chaplain High Desert Regional Center Graduates Azusa Pacific University. Licensed General Contractor B. I am the married with one daughter, two grandsons and one step son.

14 responses to “Loyalty “Should I Stay or Should I Go?””

  1. Nick Martineau says:

    Travis, I love hearing your heart in this. Exiting a church/denomination is a major decision and I’m really encouraged to see how seriously you are taking this decision. You mentioned voice and complaining. And I really like how you articulated the differences between the two. Too often people complain with no real desire for conversation or discovering a solution. I think you, your church, and your denomination are going to benefit greatly as you continue to study/research how to best articulate your voice. Thanks Travis.

  2. Brian Yost says:

    “I don’t want to just voice my dissatisfaction I want to study how and what to do to help the organization to be better and to reflect the gospel better in the 21st Century.”

    God bless you brother! Exiting makes a statement but voice can make a change. How we use our voice is a reflection of who we are. I believe God often places us in difficult situations so we can voice a better future.

  3. Phillip Struckmeyer says:

    Travis, I think you accidentally use the word “exist” instead of “exit”. What I think is funny is the real choice between “exiting” and using your “voice” is to just “exist.” Too many do not like where they are but will do nothing about it and choose to just “exist.” I love that you are unwilling to do that and you are on the edge for using your voice or exiting to a better fit for you and your calling. I pray you are successful in using your voice with your denomination.

  4. Mary Pandiani says:

    As you live in this liminal place, the threshold onto something that’s yet unknown, may God continue to make His presence and voice known in your life, Travis. Your priorities sound like they are getting rearranged. In just a year, it seems God’s voice gets louder and louder about what’s most important in how you live out your vocation, whether it’s in construction, church, school, and your everyday life. Each time I see you on Facebook, I’ll say a prayer that you’ll have the wisdom you need.

  5. Dave Young says:


    I appreciate your heart to bring change to your denomination and I know that has been the focus of your dissertation. I’m wondering what is one practical way that your voice will be heard by the denomination. I know we can’t control the change but I’m wondering how do we give voice in practical ways that respect the authority we’re under?

    • Travis Biglow says:

      Dave that is a constant issue and right now i don’t know its really hard to tell. Sometimes you can feel like David and Goliath because of the size of the job!

  6. Dawnel Volzke says:

    The issues that you are wrestling with are so common and plague the thoughts of many pastors. I’ve heard from many pastors who simply are loosing hope and struggling with their loyalty to the institutions through which they’ve worked hard to get ordained. In many ways, the American people are speaking loudly by exiting our churches. I believe that it is those denominations who listen and react appropriately that will weather the season. I’ll be praying that the Lord opens doors for your voice to be heard and truly listened to.

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